Bird flu followed by wormy eggs

An elderly woman from the Moscow suburbs told one of the Moscow veterinary laboratories that some of her hens had laid wormy eggs

Wormy eggs have always been the topic of the horror stories by gypsy fortunetellers who try to scary little girls. None of the scientists-helminthologists has ever heard of the real case…at least until recently. 

The mysterious story began several days ago. The All-Russian Helminthology Research and Development Institute received a letter from Prague supplied with strange hen's egg. One of the leading Czech experts on helminthology Ivan Pavlбsek was writing about a farmer who had brought him the egg. The woman was cooking usual breakfast of scrambled eggs when one of the eggs fell to the ground and the woman saw worms there. Hardly recovered from shock the woman collected the remains of the egg with the worms into the can and rushed to the veterinary laboratory.

“It turned out that the egg's white contained two big (seven- and eight-centimeter) ascarids,” professor of the institute Vasiliy Nikitin says. “Both were alive and with a large number of eggs”.

Neither Ivan Pavlбsek nor his colleagues ever heard of such a case and decided to consult Russian helminthologists. However, none of the Russian experts has ever seen ascarids in the egg. There is no such case described in special literature. It is difficult to say how the worms got there.

According to Nikitin two variants are possible. The hen might have been infected with ascarids. They got to cloacae from intestines. Then they reached the oviduct and settled in the egg before the laying. Or they could have gotten inside the egg somehow through the shell.

Russian experts decided to calm down and to study the two versions in a greater detail. Every body could have a sigh of relief, as Prague seemed a long way away.

However, not so long ago an elderly woman from the Moscow suburbs came to one of the Moscow veterinary laboratories and told that some of her hens had laid wormy eggs. The description points to ascarids. Hens were prescribed anthelmintic medication. The woman swore she was not selling the eggs.

The ascarids' presence in the eggs can be only explained by their high breeding in domestic animals. Scientists say they may be expanding their horizons so to say.

Ascarids can parasitize in any animal's body and can be transmitted to humans. If the egg is boiled or fried for a long time the ascarids died. The problem is that many people like soft-boiled eggs or sunny side up.

Professor Nikitin says that whether a person will be infected or not depends on the maturity of helminth's worm. Scientists hope for the best but they are not going to soothe people with useless promises.

Eva Merkacheva

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Author`s name Olga Savka